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<p>You have gotten some really great advice! My kids are older but my dd1 was very much like this as a 3-4 year old. it was extremely challenging. And like you I was juggling her and a baby. I think a lot of what she did was to get a reaction out of me. I was so, so tired. If she was naughty it would make me immediately look at her and comment on what she had just done. I resorted to changing the baby in my locked bedroom for awhile with her pounding on the door. I told her sorry, but you are not helping me with the diaper changes and you are making it harder for me. If you want to help or watch quietly I will let you in next time. Didn't always work though-- she would push the rules as far as she could and always find that exception to the rule.</p>
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<p>It is also a pain to follow through with the rules sometimes. When dd was at that awful age, she would go to the playground and be really rough with the younger babies. Once, she pushed a newly walking baby over. She also used to pull binkies out of their mouths. This was embarrassing for me and I would go over and tell her stop and talk to her, which is probably want she wanted -- attention and also she could not help herself with what she was doing-- was too excited. So before we went the next time I told her if I saw touches that were not gentle, we would go home. Well we go there and she made a beeline towards a toddling baby and pushed him on his chest so that he sat on his bottom. He was not hurt but I was mortified. I picked her up and told her we were going home. I said sorry to the mom of the baby, too. It was inconvenient for me- I had taken awhile to pack our things, had a baby in tow that I had to deal with along with a tantruming 4 year old, and I had to get both of them out of the playground and into the carseats and then deal with more screaming at home. After a day or two we went back and she was better. Not perfect, but never pushed a baby down again.</p>
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<p>Some ideas for you:</p>
<p>1) Your son sounds extremely intelligent and he is a fast thinker. I wonder if he could benefit from one-on-one time where you can sit down with him and teach him things. My daughter was very much this way and really benefitted from me starting to homeschool her at a very early age-- teaching her to read, write her letters, and we would read books that made her think. We also did a lot of printable art projects. This site was fantastic <a href="http://www.dltk-kids.com/" target="_blank">http://www.dltk-kids.com/</a> and also starfall.com for teaching to read. It kept her busy but required a lot of work from me. You can also involve him in helping with cooking tasks. Just keep him busy and on task sometimes. Yes your cooking will take 2x as long but he will feel he's getting attention and he will be able to fill some of those sensory needs. My dd's favorite task was shredding lettuce leaves. She also liked to set the table.</p>
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<p>2) You absolutely need to have "me" time! Even if once a week when dh gets home, go out to the coffee house or bookstore or library, or see a movie with a friend.</p>
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<p>3) Take your son on mommy and me dates. I think a lot of his attention getting is because he feels he is competing with the baby. Take him "big boy" places without the baby. Do the same for your oldest daughter to make it even. My kids love mommy dates and it was very special for them to have my undivided attention. We used to do simple stuff like ice cream or donuts or my youngest used to like to just window shop at the mall for an hour. </p>
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<p>4) Set up a reward system for him to earn a special treat. Have a jar and put a penny in it every time you catch him doing something helpful. Make a big deal about it so he gets that attention. When he gets a certain number of pennies he can have a special treat. Don't take pennies away for bad behavior. Just say "I feel sad that you were not able to get a penny right now because you were not being helpful when I was trying to change baby's diaper." I work as a Peds nurse. I love that sometimes they set up a reward system for kids at the hospital who need to cooperate with something. They get three stickers for doing the desired tasks. When they get the third sticker they get to pick a present out of the surprise box. The box is in their room the whole time so they can see it, and they have cheap toys gift-wrapped to make it really exciting for them to get a prize. Maybe for his age a sticker chart would work better than pennies.</p>
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<p>Hang in there! I am happy to say that my daughter-- who I was really worried about what kind of person she would grow up to be-- has turned out to be a very wonderful young lady of 12 years old, and is doing everything she should be doing at her age. :) But man it was tough trying to work with her as a toddler/preschooler.</p>
 

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<p>Just want to add that this sounds so very much like my daughter.  She is 4 and 2 months.  I think I will be looking into some homeopathics for anxiety for her. That is a great suggestion.</p>
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<p>Our latest problems include her lying and making things up that are totally untrue and then "going to the mat" to argue it.  She has taken to screaming in my face without provocation.  Sort of a zero to sixty temper.</p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Each day that passes I am convince this is more than just a phase.  She reminds me of my mother (a dangerous thought) in that she seems to thrive on the conflict and doesn't know how to go too long without it... perhaps it is a bit of an adrenaline addiction of sorts. Maybe this drama has been going on so long with dd (and escalating) that she doesn't feel quite right if she is calm.</span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Also I've been thinking, since I'm dumb enough to end up in screaming matches and powers struggle with her, that maybe she is afraid... of everything, of me too. </span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">I getting ready to reread Raising Your Spirited Child and Co-</span>dependent<span style="line-height:1.5em;"> No More so I can refresh my best inner resources.  I'm also trying really hard to explain things to her - all kinds of things that I think I have forgotten to teach her because she is so well entertained by her brother. I'm trying really hard to be silly, to have those what if you could get your way this time how would that be... silly stuff.  And I'm just trying to hug her more, even when I'm mad at her.</span></p>
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<p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">One of the chants she and I have had with our relationship is I love you even when your mad, even when I'm mad.</span></p>
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<p>For example I'm at the computer when:</p>
<p>I just was talking to her and told her her bracelet was called chunky and she is repeating and repeating and yelling at me "it is not chunky".Mind you I was complimenting her accessorizing. She is still screaming it at me... like she wants to "go to the Mat" over this. She threw a ball at me. I told her to go get her socks. Now she is slamming her purse against a wall to make angry sounds... threw her purse at me... and she is telling me how mad she is and screaming "it is not chunky" at me. She threw a washcloth and a toy hat at me. I'm sitting here trying to not get sucked in. She keeps coming back into the room to yell at me and I just heard her throw something in the other room. Going on 5 plus minutes of this. I'm trying to tell her it's not ok to throw things when you are mad. Trying to tell her that disagreeing with me like this doesn't make her statement true.</p>
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<p>It has finally ended with me asking her to come to me and explaining that I'm trying to teach her a new word (even if she doesn't like the word). I pulled her close to me up in my lap and read to her everything I just wrote to to you all.</p>
 

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My son did a lot f what you are describing including the deliberate, annoying behaviors and smacking our family dog on the head. He had terrible tantrums where he would become aggressive and destructive. He would try to run off or would climb yo the top of the playset and refuse to come down when kt was rime to leave the park. I was at my wit's end- I tried sticker charts (no long term effect), most discipline seemed to badly escalate the situation, time outs didnt work because he was so noncompliant about staying in a time out.<br>
There were some problems with defiance in his preschool classroom, but no aggression or tantrums thank goodness.<br><br>
Here's what I did-<br>
1. I took him to see a psychologist specializing in kids with behavior issues. She helped me rule out ADHD and ASD as likely diagnoses.<br>
2. I learned not to implement consequences when my DS was in a "fit," but afterward when he had calmed down.<br>
3. I got rid of time outs- the room has become a haven for calming down, not a prison.<br>
4. I set boundaries in advance. I spoke with my son during a calm moment and explained that hitting, destroying property, and dangerous acts of rebellion (e.g. trying to run off) will result in "big league" consequences- and I made sure to always (mostly:) follow through.<br>
5. I learned to praise and reward good behavior.<br>
6. A "clean slate" or the occasional opportunity to regain a privilege is a powerful tool. I don't do this often.<br><br>
He grew out if the worst of his issues between 5 1/2 and 6. Now, he is an intense, hard charging, academically gifted nearly seven year old. He has developed empathy and better coping skills. Some of his intensity is still present, so I have to be on my toes, but he is so much easier.
 

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<p>My younger son is a lot like the descriptions here.  I don't know what to do either.  He is six now, and has at least finally developed empathy towards animals.  He finally likes to snuggle pets rather than deliberately whack them or scare them.  But still, he is really difficult, doesn't listen, says bad words and name-calling all the time.  Mostly the problem is him fighting with his brother (9).  Constantly.  All they do is fight.  I have a positive reward sticker chart.  When I see them being nice to each other, playing together, they get a sticker.  Then a reward when the chart is filled (go see a movie, go out for ice cream, etc.)  I try to set up activities that give them the opportunity to have fun together, like play a board game.  And I try to instill a sense of humor to break their friction and antagonism of each other.  I want to give them tools to take a hit, jump to the next level, own the situation, and make it funny to put out the fire.  It is HARD, HARD work parenting these boys.  I try so hard, and it seems we're getting nowhere.  It's nothing but death threats, punching, kicking, scream-fests, and broken things in the house.  They also refuse to do chores.  I don't understand why my 6yo intentionally provokes my 9yo.  It's like he has no real concern for his own bodily safety.  Why?  Why would any person go into situations when they know they will get hurt?  I can't get through to him.  I can't teach him to make good choices and take care of his own interests when he doesn't even value himself.  Within the last week, they have both gotten in trouble at school for bad words. </p>
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<p>What really scares me is that both of my parents have severe mental illnesses, and my kids behavior reminds me of them.  And it breaks my heart to think they might turn out like my parents, (who I had to run away from as a teenager to save my skin). </p>
 

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<p>Have you had your child checked to see if he has sensory issues? My 11 year old daughter was extremely sensitive as a baby and young child and still can be at times. She had sensory issues from a very young age and I read a book on it once that really helped to put things in to perspective for me and helped so much at the time. Once I figured out what was going on she was much easier to deal with.</p>
 

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Mommy68, what book did you read?<br><br>
My 10 yo is up and down. He doesn't like to be touched much (I am a massage therapist) My two other children are constantly asking me for massage, and back rubs. but my 10 yo often will jerk away, although he does like me to be present in his bed when he is going to sleep. He is very volatile, emotionally. Very smart, but now that he has to study a little his grades are falling. He actually can be quite empathetic, but when he doesn't get his way, he makes life miserable for the whole family.<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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<p>My DD is like this too. What a relief to see posts from so many parents struggling with the same issues! It's so easy to think I must be getting it wrong, or there's something wrong with her...both of which might be true to some extent, but are not the whole story. I wish I had seen posts like this from when she was born, and I wish every stressed mama knew about this forum.</p>
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<p>I recognize almost all the behaviours in this thread. DD is an only child, which eliminates the sibling issues. On the other hand, it means she looks to me for CONSTANT interaction, attention, entertainment. I'm an introvert. Argh!!</p>
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<p>The two books that have helped the most (and I have read a LOT of books):</p>
<p>The Highly Sensitive Child</p>
<p>Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child</p>
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<p>The hardest thing for me to do: stay calm!</p>
<p>The thing that works best, BY FAR, with DD: staying calm and lovingly detached, saying absolutely nothing critical or shaming, being on her side</p>
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<p>Setting and maintaining consistent, loving boundaries while saying absolutely nothing critical or shaming is an art form. If anyone has suggestions for specific language for this, do tell! I'm too used to critical environments and not familiar enough with kindness.</p>
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<p>A year or two ago, she started being very disrespectful to me. I have strong feelings about this, so I came down hard with a zero-tolerance policy, saying certain tones of voice and certain statements were unacceptable, giving time outs (constantly), etc. It definitely did not work. So, with a massive effort on my part, I began to ignore the disrespect. Just pretended it was not happening. For a while, it carried on, but I was more peaceful (gritting my teeth turned out to be more peaceful than constant conflict). It took many months, but she has stopped doing it!! (except when she's very angry or melting down) and I am more able to tolerate what feels like abuse when my focus is on the emotions under her words, rather than the words and tone.</p>
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<p>Does anyone else notice a difference between tantrums and meltdowns? For DD, a tantrum was a more-or-less age-appropriate response to things not going her way. When she has meltdowns, it's as if she goes out of her head.  Meltdowns seem to have to do with huge anxiety, but she cannot let me reassure her. Meltdowns scare me, my reaction is to get annoyed, then angry -- the last thing she needs. I have not yet overcome the message in my head that says 'she should not be doing this, this is unreasonable.'</p>
 

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<p>Thank you, Heronsister, I will look for those books. And yes, I always say that this child knows my buttons perfectly! Calm? Oh, I so need to remember that. It is very hard for me to remain calm with him, too. I may need to tattoo those words on my forearm!</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
 

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<p>Sometimes my dd gets totally in a wound up, hyper, destructive mode (and I feel like she is just going to end up getting in trouble very soon <img alt=":p" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="">) and we do this thing called "brushing" that I learned from an occupational therapist when I was a preschool teacher. It's a brush with lots of little soft bristles that was initially intended as a surgical scrub brush. You brush with pressure in one direction in very long strokes, and it's very calming and helps sensory problems too. My daughter will go from bouncing off the walls to literally not moving, unless it is to move a body part so I can brush her other arm etc. It has been amazing and her behavior definitely gets calmed down. I would recommend to everyone to try it on their kid. You can search therapressure brush on amazon, but get one with a handle/cover (some of the cheap ones for sale don't have that.)</p>
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<p>Oh I also wanted to add that my dd was never a fan of a back rub or anything, but she loves brushing, so even if you think your child might not like they can surprise you!</p>
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<p>Please let us know how it's going and if anything has been working!</p>
 

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<p>I have 3 too so reading all the replies wasn't possible...two thoughts 1. get your kiddo into the child psych department for some evals and challenging-kid classes. you'll feel better just to have someone else on your team..it doesn't mean medicating but it could me recognizing something like ODD and/or SPD. Having a 6 yr old that just makes our whole family miserable, I wished I'd gotten help earlier b/c it takes awhile to find the right help (we are still looking).</p>
<p>2. my 3 yr old middle kiddo will do crazy hitting/nudging stuff ONLY if I and the baby are around. If I'm no or if baby isn't, it doesn't happen. Its definitely an attention thing. I think my kids is bad at just saying he needs attention and doesn't know what to do w/ that internal need so he does really irritating behavior like this. He used to bite but now its more like nudging and a grabby/squeeze thing or nearly sitting on the youngest.</p>
 

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Wow. So. I searched this thread up because I was curious to see my first hand description of this kid from when he was younger as opposed to just my memory. Not a lot has changed. Well, he doesnt spit quite as much. And he finds hurting animals a bit more offensive so he wont just attack them. Sure wish he found hurting people offensive. Any areas he has improved are canceled out by other areas that he has gotten way more "bold" in. Anyway, at 8 was diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, ODD, OCD. I should say, he definitely did not meet the criteria for that when he was younger but sure grew into the diagnoses. Also has PANDAS. I have no idea whether he has had that all along or what. But it sure is interesting to see how some of his "things" now were always a part of him. Like making threats whenever he doesnt like something.

So, curious, anyone else still here? Those who said your kid was "just like him"...any improvement, or same hell year after year?
 

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Your post popped up in my email. My son is now 9, like yours, and he is honestly a dream. He’s headstrong and willful like me 😬, but he’s a dream, and has so much empathy. I’ve maintained a scrupulously clean, whole food, wheat-free (mostly grain-free) diet for my family, and that has made all the difference. (My own OCD, anxiety disorder, and fibromyalgia went away years ago.)
I homeschool LO, and allow his interests to guide our science, art, and electives curricula, and he really enjoys school. His IBS, SPD, and all remnants of ASD (actually vaccine injury, not autism) have been gone for years. He was once wheated at a relative’s home and we experienced a week of hell - bad behavior, shrieking, night terrors, teeth gnashing, the whole nine - when he was six, but other than that, he’s been as well-behaved as any neurotypical child.
We have plans to chelate him in the future because we’ve learned the MTHFR variant is present in our family genetics, and he should never have been vaccinated in the first place.
We started with the GAPS Diet and transitioned to paleo. I’ve since identified an additional but small range of trigger foods for LO, but eating an unprocessed diet makes it easy to avoid any missteps and meltdowns. We use a Berkey for our water, I ferment krauts and pickles for probiotics, we eat a whole lot of vegetables and a little bit of fruit, the meat we do eat is pastured, and we eschew grains and pseudo-grains.
I had to figure out most of this on my own through diligent research because holistic professionals don’t practice anywhere near us, but if I had to start over from the beginning and heal him all over again today, I’d have a gene panel done, start GAPS immediately, Skype or travel to consult a naturopath and probably a homeopath, and get LO in for regular adjustments with a chiropractor.
I wish you well. I know how hard it is to watch your child suffer and to bear the brunt of his outbursts. I especially wish that you find hope and healing heading into the new year. <3
 
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